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Post To Post For Championship

Feature races close ADEC season

ABU DHABI EQUESTRIAN CLUBS’S final meeting of the season on Sunday was highlighted by the Group 1 Emirates Championship (2200m) won by the HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan-owned Abhaar who led from start to finish.

Racing beyond 1700m for the first time the Eric Lemartinel-trained Abhaar showed stamina was not an issue under rider Wayne Smith and, combined with his undoubted tenacity, was able to hold off a persistent challenge from Sha’Red who looked the likely winner 300m from home but just could not get past.

“Obviously we are delighted with that,” said Lemartinel. “Abhaar was trying a new trip here and has produced a massive effort under a great ride from Wayne.
“We decided to be positive on him and he has shown he stays well.”

Smith added: “He has given me a great ride and was always travelling well. I was able to get a breather into him down the back straight before we wound the pace up.
“He has responded really well and then he has battled bravely to hold off the second.”

The jockey was to complete a double, driving home Cheik Roque for trainer Erwan Charpy in the final race of the Abu Dhabi campaign, a 1600m handicap.

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktom owned five of the runners in the biggest Thoroughbred race of the Abu Dhabi season, the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship (2200m) with his first jockey, Paul Hanagan, making the right choice by siding with Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Khusoosy who ran on too strongly for stable companion, Munaaser, also owned by Sheikh Hamdan.

Winner of the course and distance prep on his penultimate start and local debut, Hanagan’s mount was well beaten in a 2000m Dubai World Cup Carnival turf handicap on his second UAE outing, but bounced back in no uncertain terms here, leading close home to deny Munaaser who almost stole the race.

“It just took him a while to hit top gear,” said Hanagan. “Fair play to Munaaser because it took us until the dying strides to catch him but I always thought we were going to get there.

Talented filly Mahbooba made it three wins from just four career starts when winning the UAE Arabian Derby, a 2200m Prestige conditions event. Ridden by Tadhg O’Shea for Sheikh Khalifa and Lemartinel, Mahbooba hit the front at the top of the straight and ran on strongly to land the spoils.

She was chased home by Sniper de Monlau, with whom she was fighting out a finish for the third consecutive race and has now beaten that rival, who insists on heading for the nearside rail in the straight, twice.

“It is actually the first time I have ridden her in a race,” said O’Shea. “She is a lovely filly and very straightforward to ride.
“This is a big win as she is now a lovely broodmare prospect for Sheikh Khalifa and his team.
“I just kept pushing on her as I knew Sniper De Monlau would be running on but we always had things under control as it transpired.”

O’Shea completed a double both for himself and Al Raihe when partnering AF Maqayes to record a comfortable success in the 1400m conditions race for private owners.
It was yet another winner for owner and breeder, Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, celebrating his 23rd success of the campaign and also responsible for AF Rahia and Af Ashras, second and third respectively.

And the owner wasted no time in completing a double with Fernado Jara in the saddle on the Ersnt Oertel-trained AF Madrub in a 1400m maiden.

Having only her third career start, Oertel’s charge had shown plenty of promise on her second outing, a pleasing fourth in the 1600m Emirates Fillies’ Classic when, perhaps, failing to see out the extra 200m.

The meeting opened with a maiden over 1400m and, despite missing the break, it was eventually won cosily by the Satish Seemar-prepared Dorhess De Brugere, ridden by Richard Mullen.

Having his tenth career start and fifth in the UAE, Mullen’s mount made noticeable progress at halfway and was sent to the front about 200m from home.

“We only have two Purebred Arabians in the yard so it is not easy to gauge them,” said Mullen. “We always thought he was nice enough and would win a race but we had a bad drawn in 15 otherwise I would have been quite confident.
“The return to turf has suited him after two runs on the Al Ain dirt.”